When my daughter was younger I made her a little brown rat with a pointy nose, shiny black eyes and a long tail. He was based on one of our favourite book characters, That Pesky Rat by Lauren Child. If you look at the cover of That Pesky Rat, you will see that our rat looks very much like him!

Anna called her rat Pablo, and she took him everywhere. He got bundled up for a trip to the beach, with warm tartan trousers and a hand-knitted scarf. Here is another picture from when I first made him:

That was back when his tail was made from a brown pipe-cleaner. It was soon broken, so later I made him a proper cloth tail.

We had lots of fun with Pablo, making him clothes from socks and scraps of fabric.  One Christmas I even made him a Santa suit! But he seemed a bit lonely, so I decided to make another soft toy to keep him company. The next one was a grey mouse called Paula, and then came Poppy, Pippa and Pierre. Each time I made a new mouse I got better at it, and I changed things here and there, so every mouse is different.

Anna’s friends liked her mice so much that I made a few extra ones for birthday presents. Eventually I think we had ten or twelve mice, and Anna ran out of names beginning with P!

As I ran out of fabric, the mice got smaller and smaller. Here are a few of Anna’s mouse children. Pippa is on the left, and she is one of the few grey mice. (I had a lot more of the brown fabric!) The next one is my favourite of all the mice. His name is Findlay and he is the smallest one (and the cutest!) Isn’t he adorable in his stripy jumpsuit?

Anna made all the clothes from baby socks. I think her little hoodies are very clever – she makes the hood from the toe of the sock. The mouse next to Findlay is Amelia. Anna made that mouse all by herself! The one in the pink dress is Emma. I made her but her little face turned out very thin, and her ears are a little bit crooked. (The ears are the trickiest bit to sew!)

Pablo’s house started out as a little bed in a drawer, but as his family expanded, he took over the whole of Anna’s wardrobe! Soon it was full of doll’s furniture, tiny posters on the walls and little beds made of shoeboxes.

Pablo and the other mice don’t go everywhere with Anna anymore, now that she’s so grown up, but we keep them all the same. Oh, look – baby Findlay is escaping! I’ll have to run and catch him…